A little lesson in coopetition

Ideas travel and they are contagious. When they find their way into the mind of a discerning educational professional working in the context of a school open to the world, great opportunities can arise.

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Ideas travel and they are contagious. When they find their way into the mind of a discerning educational professional working in the context of a school open to the world, great opportunities can arise.

This is a bit like what was experienced at Collège Beaubois, where five schools met to take stock of the implementation of a digital manufacturing workshop in a school environment. Some of these schools are advanced in this project while others are curious and explore the possibilities. So it is in this atmosphere of healthy coopetition that representatives of Lafontaine Academy, of Sacred Heart Day School, of Saint-Paul-de-Varennes College, of News-Frontiers College and Beaubois College met, in the presence of representatives of BOX 21 and some FEEP, to exchange ideas, experiences and other information related to the establishment of such a workshop in their establishment.


The importance of professional learning communities

Obviously, there were some demonstrations of technological devices here and there, but they were only a pretext to put the pedagogical approaches or the educational visions in the foreground: integration of the movement maker pedagogy, active pedagogy, extracurricular activities, valuation of the STEAM approach, etc. Also, faced with this major pedagogical shift, it was a question of training teachers to face this new reality. How can continuing education and professional development not only improve teaching practices, but above all, bring out convincing practices?

The answer to these questions is not yet clear. However, a good part of the answer lies in the exercise we just went through: creating professional learning communities so that we can think in a network and learn from the experiences of others. How can I take such an idea and adapt it to my environment? What can I learn from a success or failure of another school similar to mine? How can I avoid some of the traps my coworkers have got themselves into or how can I prevent them from making the same mistakes?

The leadership that emerges from such encounters is refreshing and invigorating. It gives a real rhythm to the ideas that follow one another, but above all, it gives a momentum to the resulting actions. The effects in the environment are energizing and this promotes the emergence of other leaderships from the environment to possibly create other professional learning communities.


Reflective practice

This type of community is extremely educational. When we are all separated, in our surroundings, swallowed up by the urgency of everyday life, we do not take the time to learn from our actions and draw formative conclusions. However, by taking the time to stop and taking care to free ourselves from guilt in this regard, we reflect on the actions we take and we learn more about our own practices. The meeting of the five teaching establishments will have made it possible to do this: stop, reflect, discuss, share in order to return to our schools and transform our learning into new and energizing ideas.

This is made possible by an attitude of collaboration between the establishments, which goes well beyond the usual aspects of competition. It is in this sense that we can speak of a real and healthy coopetition. Moreover, when schools get up to speed skills of 21e century, isn't this a good example for students and their teachers to adopt the same posture?

It is therefore particularly fabulous that a digital fabrication workshop is such an object of curiosity to serve as a pretext for the spontaneous creation of a digital learning community. This is one of the paths on which networking can lead us unexpectedly!


This article is part of the dossier " The establishment of a digital manufacturing workshop (makerspace) ", whose here is the list of articles in antecchronological order.

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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